By Kristan Doerfler
Easter Sunday is quickly approaching and most churches are preparing for the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday observances. For most churches, this includes plans to accommodate large crowds.
Regular Sunday worshippers have a myriad of nicknames for this group of people who attend church on Christmas and Easter. Some other days apply (Mothers Day and Fathers Day are pretty close to being on the list) Christears, C & E's, two-timers, the Holly & Lilly club are the ones I'm most familiar with. I'm sure there are more variations of names.
Let's take a step back from classifying them for a moment and focus on loving them.
For me as a Catholic, the influx in attendance is noticed on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. A friend of mine shared his frustration via his Facebook status on Monday, asking why these perceived intruders to his regular Sunday Mass only come twice a year and questioned their contributions to the church.
Now, I have to confess that I am guilty of these sentiments more often than I would like to admit. I get annoyed when someone is sitting in 'my' pew on these holidays. I am more easily annoyed by distracted people who don't seem to be paying attention.
Is this how I evangelize? I certainly hope not. (If someone catches me doing this on Sunday, you can throw a hymnal at me.)
I think to the story of the prodigal son. When he returned to his fathers house, the son was repentant and humbled himself. What we don't know is what happened after the feast and celebration. Did the prodigal son return to his old ways? We'd like to believe not because he took it upon himself to return. This is honestly my first time to think about this parable past what we know from scripture.
Christians who attend church regularly can probably relate to the other son in this parable. Here we are, tithing, volunteering, and someone comes along who doesn't show up but twice a year and takes our good parking spot! It's understandable to feel this way (I'm telling myself this as I type). How we act is more important.
Just like the brother, we may feel short-changed. We must remember the father's words to the brother. Let's rejoice that our brothers and sisters have returned. Hopefully they will keep coming to the feast.
Have a blessed Easter, everyone!